Four Stryker combat vehicles were successfully loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster III Aug. 13,2014, on the flightline here, marking the Army’s first use of the Stryker Marshalling Pad and Hot Cargo Pad since their construction.
According to Glen Bailey, the 15th Wing Plans and Programs chief of support agreements, the SMP and HCP were built specifically to support the 25th Infantry Division combat vehicles.
The Stryker, the Army’s interim armored vehicle, is used to provide quick response maneuvering capability, enhanced survivability and lethality, and expand fight versatility.
“The beddown of the C-17s and the 25th ID Strykers were linked from the beginning,” he said. “Early discussions by senior leadership identified the need for the joint training of Stryker movements through Hickam Field utilizing C-17 aircraft.”
Army Lt. Col. Jeff Howell, the 25th ID future operations director, said it took a lot of coordinating to get the scheduling of the training timed just right due to the Army’s high deployment tempo.
However, Howell said, the training exercise was necessary, because it is an important part of validating the unit’s readiness.
“Having this capability means our unit is more prepared to respond to any contingency in the Pacific, and that (Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam) is prepared to help push us out on those contingencies,” he said.
A large piece of that capability, Howell said, is having a place to conduct preflight inspections and load the aircraft, and that’s where the SMP and HCP come into play.
Howell said the first training exercise was an overwhelming success, due in large part to the working relationships between the services.
“This has been in the works for two months, and the biggest takeaway from today is the coordination between all of the organizations that made it happen,” he said. “We worked with (Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam), 15th Wing and the 735th Air Mobility Squadron, so it was truly a joint effort.”
Until recently, the Army relied on moving their Hawaii-based Stryker vehicles via ships.
Acknowledging the C-17s critical support role, Howell said it was great having the Air Force integrate into their training exercise.
“The 15th WG completely embraced their role as intra-theater airlift,” he said. “It’s great training with those guys because they are really professional.”